Royal Delta, the reigning champion of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, returned to the Breeders’ Cup last week and kept her crown. The four-year-old took a fast trip around the Santa Anita track and was just too strong for unbeaten challenger My Miss Aurelia, as she led wire to wire.
Right from the start it was obvious that Royal Delta was raring to go. She broke out of the gate quickly, along with Include Me Out, and set a fast but patient pace. Things were amiss right from the start for one of the favorites, as the Kiaran McLaughlin trained Questing broke from the gate poorly, pulled up and didn’t finish the race. After the race it was found that she had suffered an eye injury and should be alright for future racing. Meanwhile, Royal Delta continued to lead a group of four around the first turns and the race held steady through the stretch. As they started the long turn for home, Include Me Out started to fade a bit, as My Miss Aurelia made a move on the lead. Love and Pride was fighting on the outside, but gave way as Include Me Out started to rally back into contention. Royal Delta continued to lead around the turn and down the back stretch as the power and sustainability carried Royal Delta. It became apparent in the last two hundred yards that the race was for second and My Miss Aurelia pulled away from Include Me Out to take that spot.
The second place finish for Steve Asmussen’s My Miss Aurelia was her first loss after starting her career with a six race winning streak, including victories in three grade I contests. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has been aboard Royal Delta in her last five starts and has now delivered four wins. Royal Delta is handled by world famous trainer William Mott, who is no stranger to the Breeders’ Cup. Mott had eight career wins in the Breeders’ Cup going into last weekend and has now trained Royal Delta to seven career graded stakes wins, with four of those being grade I. In six of seven races in 2012 she has finished first or second and is a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award in the older female horse category.